Seth Gerke is a footwear designer with a strong interest in fashion and conceptual design.
Seth began sketching at a very young age, strongly encouraged by his mother, the artist in the family. Around sixth grade, he began to gain a deep interest in footwear, specifically relating to the sports he played at the time. Combining a love of drawing and athletic footwear, applying to the industrial design program at DAAP seemed like the obvious choice. It also helped that his father is a die-hard Bearcats fan, and that passion rubbed off on Seth throughout the years. However, despite entering the program with some initial skill, nothing could've prepared him for the obstacle that was "foundations."
The first two years of the industrial design program were nothing short of discouraging to Seth. At one point, he even considered switching majors, as the dream of designing footwear was far from coming true. Fortunately, after a few brutal critiques and a semester of gathering himself, the first co-op was accomplished. Once he was finally able to design in the realm of soft goods, his confidence was restored. The next two years would prove to be instrumental in becoming a real designer. After working with small leather goods in Chicago, Seth co-oped at Vans in California, where he learned all about working with color and prints. After Vans, Seth began working at Frye in NYC. Frye specializes in handcrafted leather footwear, and the designers taught him a great deal about the construction of footwear. It was also here that Seth would design his first products to hit the market: two sneakers and one rain boot will be released this spring. Finally, Seth spent his last internship returning to Vans. The culture and work environment would serve as a template for the ideal place to work in his mind. Everything from the people, the place, and the design work itself was both fun and fulfilling.
After graduation, truly anything is possible. First and foremost, Seth will begin the graduate program in order to receive an MBA by spring 2018. This will give him ground to expand his responsibilities outside of design, as he hopes to become more than just an entry-level or senior designer. Seth has big dreams, as everyone in his class should. He's not exactly sure where that path will take him, but one day hopes that he can have his own brand in which he can design according to his own philosophy.